World's Largest Tire.

World's Largest Tire

Field review by the editors.

Allen Park, Michigan

The Statue of Liberty has its fans, but perhaps a more fitting giant symbol of America stands beside I-94, near the Detroit Metro Airport. It is the World's Largest Tire and it is an automobile tire, thank you, not a tire to some fruit-loopy pivoting windmill or solar cell.

World's Largest Tire.
The Tire in 2009.

This 12-ton, 80-foot-tall behemoth was built to withstand hurricane-force winds, and served as a Ferris wheel (and a huge advertisement for Uniroyal) at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. Twenty-four gondolas circled the tire where the treads are today, carrying nearly two million people. The tire was moved to Allen Park in 1966 and, although urban legends tell of it breaking loose and rolling across I-94, there's no evidence that this has ever happened.

In 1998 Uniroyal stabbed the tire with a 11-foot-long, 250-pound nail -- another "world's largest" -- to promote their puncture-resistant Tiger Paw Nailgard tire. The big tire withstood the assault and the nail was eventually removed and given to Allen Park, which then put it up for sale on eBay in 2003 to raise money for a local historical society. The city hoped that someone would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the nail, the final price paid by local businessman Ralph Roberts was $3,000 (Roberts lends out the nail for local events).

World's Largest Tire, before its 1998 refurbishing.
World's Largest Tire, before its 1998 refurbishing.

The original tire was a bias-ply whitewall with a mid-1960s hubcap. It has undergone several renovations over the years, and we hear that it is again being updated.

We believe that it has a patriotic destiny. Let's go, American auto industry! Build three more of these big babies (and maybe a spare), attach them to a suitably proportioned car, air-drop the juggernaut overseas, and show the rest of the world what the U.S.A. is all about!

Our enemies would throw up their hands in humility and go home, while everybody else would see how terrific we are, and concede that we really do need all of their oil.

Also see: 1964-65 New York World's Fair

World's Largest Tire

Address:
I-94, Allen Park, MI
Directions:
I-94 just east of Detroit Metro Airport. The last road before you reach the tire is Southfield Freeway. Or via Baker College parking lot, just off Outer Drive in Allen Park. Visitors must report to Campus Safety; the property around the tire is not open to the general public.
Hours:
Private property - visible from I-94
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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